A jury on Monday found singer R. Kelly guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges during its second day of deliberations in his federal trial in New York.
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was found guilty of heading a racketeering and sex trafficking scheme for decades that preyed on dozens of young women and girls.
Update 4:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Speaking outside the courthouse Monday jurors returned guilty verdicts against Kelly, acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said she hoped that his conviction brought “some measure of comfort and closure to the victims.”
She thanked victims for speaking out against Kelly. For years, the public and news media seemed to be more amused than horrified by allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors, starting with Kelly’s illegal marriage to the R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15.
“No one deserves what they experienced at his hands or the threats and harassment they faced in telling the truth about what happened to them,” Kasulis said. “Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young and vulnerable.”
Update 3:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kelly is scheduled to be sentenced May 4 after being convicted Monday of racketeering and sex trafficking charges, according to CNN.
Jurors began deliberating the case Friday. After pausing for the weekend, the seven men and five women on the panel returned with guilty verdicts on all charges on Monday afternoon.
Kelly’s attorney, Deveraux Cannick, told reporters after the verdict was read that Kelly “was not anticipating this verdict.”
Update 3:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kelly attorney Deveraux Cannick told The Associated Press on Monday that he was disappointed by the verdict.
“I think I’m even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place given all the inconsistencies,” he said.
During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez argued that Kelly was a serial abuser who “maintained control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook.” The defense labeled the accusers as “groupies” and “stalkers.” Cannick questioned why the alleged victims stayed in relationships with Kelly if they thought they were being exploited.
Update 3:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Prosecutors called 45 witnesses in the seven weeks Kelly stood trial in Brooklyn on one count of racketeering and eight counts related to coercing and transporting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The witnesses included five women who were identified as victims in the indictment against Kelly, the Journal reported. A sixth victim was identified as the late R&B singer Aaliyah, who died in 2001, according to the newspaper.
Kelly sat motionless in the courtroom on Monday as he was found guilty of all nine counts against him, The New York Times reported.
Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kelly was found guilty of leading a racketeering enterprise for decades following years of allegations that he exploited his celebrity to lure women and underage girls to him for sex.
The charges were based on an argument that the entourage of managers and aides who helped the singer meet girls — and keep them obedient and quiet — amounted to a criminal enterprise.
Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.
Original report: A jury reached a verdict Monday afternoon in the racketeering trial of singer R. Kelly.
Citing a court spokesman, The New York Times reported the seven men and five women serving on the jury for the trial said they had a verdict just before 3 p.m.
The 54-year-old Kelly, perhaps best known for the 1996 smash hit “I Believe I Can Fly, " has pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges accusing him of sexually abusing women, girls and boys for more than two decades.
He is also charged with multiple violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Check back for updates to this developing story.
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